The Intel MIC X100 devices are add-in co-processors that run a modified Linux kernel and interact with the host system over PCI Express. By now you've likely read plenty about Xeon Phi and Intel's Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture if you are into high-performance computing.
Published on Wednesday by Intel's Sudeep Dutt were the Linux kernel enablement drivers for the host. Here's the key information from his Linux kernel mailing list post with the five new kernel patches:
An Intel MIC X100 device is a PCIe form factor add-in coprocessor card based on the Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture that runs a Linux OS. It is a PCIe endpoint in a platform and therefore implements the three required standard address spaces i.e. configuration, memory and I/O. The host OS loads a device driver as is typical for PCIe devices. The card itself runs a bootstrap after reset that transfers control to the card OS downloaded from the host driver. The card OS as shipped by Intel is a Linux kernel with modifications for the X100 devices.The Intel MIC X100 Linux kernel drivers amount to about 10,000 lines of new code. The patches introduce the MIC host driver, MIC card driver, the VirtIO interface over PCI Express for the card and host, and then a sample user-space daemon for implementing the VirtIO device back-ends on the host system.
Since it is a PCIe card, it does not have the ability to host hardware devices for networking, storage and console. We provide these devices on X100 coprocessors thus enabling a self-bootable equivalent environment for applications. A key benefit of our solution is that it leverages the standard virtio framework for network, disk and console devices, though in our case the virtio framework is used across a PCIe bus.